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Hanoi looks to draw tourists

Of this, 552,098 were made up of foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 20 per cent. Visitors from China increased 32 per cent in comparison with the same period last year; Australia, 28 per cent and Japan, 14 per cent.

Thanks to significantly increased visitor numbers, hotel capacity reached 60.62 per cent, a year-on-year increase of 3.56 per cent.

Ha Noi aims to welcome 13.25 million visitors in total, including 1.75 million foreign tourists, during the year.

The city has also set a target of welcoming 16 million visitors, including 2 million foreign tourists, by 2015.

Bui Dinh Binh, deputy director of Saigontourist Ha Noi, said that in order to help the capital welcome 2 million foreign visitors by 2015, the city should focus on several key markets including Eastern Europe, its high income citizens having always had a strong traditional relationship with Ha Noi.

The deputy director of Viet Nam Tourism Investment in Ha Noi, Le Nhan Vinh, said that the Ha Noi People's Committee should develop preferential policies in order to encourage enterprises to promote the city's tourism image in the Eastern Europe market, establishing a legal operations framework for tourism companies between now and 2030.

The director of the Ha Noi Daissy Tourism Company, Tran Thu Ha,øø said that her company was currently aiming at luring foreign visitors from the US, emphasising that the capital's transport system be improved.

"Tourism companies should co-operate better in order to serve customers more efficiently," she added.

Truong Minh Tien, deputy director of the Ha Noi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, conceded that, due to the lack of a tourism plan, tourism has faced many difficulties in attracting investment.

In order to welcome 1.75 million visitors this year and 2 million by 2015, Tien emphasised the importance of a National Programme of Action and a tourism promotion campaign, set to run from 2011-15 coupled with two annual events including an international tourism fair and a Ha Noi eating and drinking festival.

He added that several tourism programmes, including developing ancient and handicraft villages as well as community tourism, were key factors in fulfilling targets.

During a recent meeting between the Ha Noi People's Committee and the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, vice chairwoman of the Ha Noi People's Committee, said that a master tourism plan would play a critical role in helping the capital's tourism become a key economic industry.

She confirmed that such a master plan should be compiled based on the city's cultural and historical potential and strengths, adding that the tourism sector also develop a network for ecological tourism and transport.